Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Night Spinner by Abi Elphinstone – review

A welcome return for the intrepid Moll Pecksniff who takes on fantastical enemies and riddles that can only be defeated by magic in The Night Spinner, the final part of this thrilling trilogy of monsters and magic.

Following on from her earlier successful adventures, Moll has discovered a set of sinister enemies who want to shut out good magic and replace it with the bad and there is  danger and adventure at every turn as all manner of foes are sent to fight her. 

Moll now has just three more Shadowmasks to defeat. But can she do it in time to stop the old, good magic being banished forever from the world?

Moll travels north, with only a cryptic note from the oracle spirit to guide her, she begins her search for magical objects she will need to defeat the many, unknown obstacles that will stand in her way.

As readers who have loved the first two of this series will expect, Moll encounters non-stop threat from the magical monsters who have been sent by the evil Shadowmasks to try to stop her reaching and killing the ultimate Shadowmask called Night Spinner.

From an early assault by witches, Moll encounters a wonderfully trickster goblin called Kittlerumpit, a Gollum-like figure, living underground in a system of tunnels, dishing out riddles and surrounded by cages and mirrors. But Moll also finds friendly giants and new-found Highland helpers including a selkie as she quests to find and destroy the Night Spinner.

Yet one of the strongest elements of this part of the trilogy is where Moll starts to have doubts. Her arrows stop flying so truly and she begins to fear failure. As Moll is a character marked by certainty and unstinting bravery and a fearless fighter, Moll is floored by these feelings of self-doubt. But this builds to one of the highlights of the story where she discovers the real reason she has faltered – and it is all down to those evil Shadowmasks again. They have been stealing her hopes and dreams and bottling them to dwindle her energy and resolve. A really great twist as Moll has never faltered before and she fights her way to regather all her strength and belief.

If you haven’t read them yet it is worth starting at the beginning of these Abi Elphinstone’s adventures with ‘The Dreamsnatcher’. 

The jeopardy is constantly thrilling and imaginative as Moll draws on magical objects to defeat her enemies in a wonderful collective rollercoaster of fantastic enemies and ingenious ways to defeat them. 

Moll is a heroine for our times and manages each encounter with a brave heart and a clear head. She is a great heroine, never short on resilience and a stout heart to see her through the worst of troubles.

A brilliant ending for a brilliant trilogy and with everything from a strong jacket design to a strong heroine these deserve to become a classic for every bookshelf. Here's hoping this won’t prove to be the last we hear from Moll.

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